Doni Silver Simons Things We Pass Down Text Final2 (PDF)

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Things We Pass Down
November 16 – December 17, 2014
Doni Silver Sim ons-- known for her abstract canvases, sculpture, installations and durational
performances is interested in documenting the passage of time, memory and identity. The title of
this exhibition: Things W e Pass Down is drawn from the Hebrew terms for inheritance (yerusha)
and heritage (morasha). More than simply physical items, both concepts refer to the practices and
customs—all imbued with rich significance-- that are passed from generation to generation.
Silver Simons’ explores the confrontation between modernity and her deeply traditional lifestyle. In
the Antiquities series, a set of abstracted works on paper and canvas, Silver Simons builds up the
surface texture of the works over time, often polishing each layer of paint creating the appearance
of aged paper and stone tablets. Like a sofer, each mark in that series, as well as in From my
Journal (2014), is done only after much preparation and with great kavannah (spiritual intention). In
the Strip series, each painted strand that drops below the canvas edge reminds the viewer of
mark-making— threads become lines and an extension of the artists hand. Untitled (2008), an
atmospheric gray canvas with subtle markings, is pierced with a blade, Silver Simons uses this
unique mark as an opening on an otherwise closed surface. It is a metaphor for the passage of
Seven Weeks Makes One Whole (2012), expands upon the traditional omer counter, which marks
off the forty-nine days (seven weeks) of counting between the festivals of Passover and Shavuot. In
hers, there are no visible marks. In creating this work, her ‘counting’ became a performative act as
she cut, pulled strands, and gently intertwined the canvas. The title references the Kabbalistic
tradition that through the meditative counting of the omer, disparate elements of the world align
and guide us through a process of personal elevation moving from exodus to revelation. The
number seven also recalls creation and the journey toward the wholeness encompassed by
Shabbat. Thus, the ‘braided’ canvas evokes both symbols of Shavuot—the culmination of the
counting and bound sheaves of barley, together with symbols of Shabbat—the carefully braided
challah loaves and interwoven Havdalah candle.
In Things We Pass Down, Silver Simons, as a contemporary artist draws upon our heritage. She
integrates the past and present so that future generations might come to claim their own spiritual
and cultural inheritance.

Doni Silver Simons is an internationally exhibited painter, installation, and durational performance artist. She was
included in the 2013 Inaugural Jerusalem Biennale and was a 2014 recipient of the Santa Monica Fellowship Project
Grant. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Shulamit Gallery, Venice, CA; Sherry Frumkin
Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; the Detroit Institute of Art; Santa Monica Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los
Angeles; the Museum of Art, Ein Harod, Israel; and the Wolfson Museum of Art, Jerusalem, Israel.
A recipient of numerous grants and commissions, Silver Simons' work is included in many private and public
collections. Silver Simons earned her BA in Studio Arts from University of Pittsburgh, and an MFA from Wayne State
University, Detroit, Michigan.

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